Karma, Destiny and Free Will


The foregoing discussions would reveal that the universe has a purpose, rules and challenges. Nobody is here by accident; we are all here to live out our life's purpose, to learn from experience and to walk the path. No life is pointless, it's all about progression, learning and succession to a higher level - something that even transcends one physical life time because our soul returns to continue the progression.

This is our KARMA, the grand plan for our lives - the credits and debits, the good and the bad - the path we must tread.

Consider our destined path as a route through a maze. The maze represents all of the possible challenges and rewards, all of the ups and downs, and all the people who are destined to come into our lives to bring happiness or conflict.

Within that framework of the maze we have free will. At any point we can turn left or right, go straight ahead or go back. As humans we frequently have the illusion that life is totally of free will. After all we can choose what to wear, where to go, whom to marry and what color we want our dress to be etc. But in many things we ultimately don't have any choice. Our 'free will' and destiny are ultimately intertwined by the fact of our existence within the predefined framework of the karma - the maze - the framework of the path from birth to death and ultimately rebirth.

The question whether destiny or free will is superior cannot thus be answered in an ‘either/or’ format. It is not either this or that but it is both. We have both the possibility of free will and are also predetermined at the same time. This can be made clear by an illustration.
Imagine a scenario where a buffalo is tied by a long rope to a pole fixed to the ground in an open field. It has got freedom to be near to the pole or go to the full extent of the rope or only go up to a certain length of the rope. Its free will is limited to the extent of the length of the rope and if it is very strong it can even break the rope and escape the bondage.

In this illustration the buffalo being tied by the rope is prarabdha karma; it’s going to the full extent of the rope or staying near the pole is its free will; the breaking of the rope by its superior effort and strength is the breaking of prarabdha or obtaining salvation or moksha from samsar through Sadhana.

Is it not then that the whole question is rendered unanswerable when we ask ourselves, Who is the one who exercises free will? The human being or the omnipotent Paramatman, the Sutradhar, the string–puller of we the puppets, who erroneously take it for granted that we are masters of our lives. Destiny is as it were the balance sheet of a person's assets (virtues) and liabilities (sins) over a number of his past births. Hence it is impossible to know it before hand. But the aim of human endeavor can only be to free him from the bonds of his karma by inducing in him wisdom and equanimity.

Also Read
1. FAQ Karma & Reincarnation Click Here
2. Fate, free will and Vedic Astrology - Click Here
3. Karma Philosophy - Click Here

Receive Site Updates